South Sudan is the youngest nation in the world with a population of 12.34 million people in 2015, the country gained its independence from the Republic of Sudan on 9th July 2011.
In November 2013, the president of South Sudan who comes from the Dinka ethnic group dismissed the vice president who's from the Nuer group, tensions continued to escalate when the president accused the vice president of plotting a coup. In December 2013, the accusations sparked violence in the country where factions loyal to the president and the vice president engaged in an ethnic tit-for-tat violence across villages with military groups carrying out attacks in areas known to be inhabitted by either Dinka or Nuer.
The civil war in the country has left thousands of people dead and forced millions to flee their homes into refugee camps in Uganda and other neighbouring countries.
In August 2017, the one millionth refugee from South Sudan entered Uganda in escape of terror, sexual violence, armed conflict and hunger. About 1800 people are fleeing across the border to Uganda everyday since the war broke out in 2013, 85% of them are vulnerable women and children. As they cross to Uganda, many of them recount horrific tales of seeing armed groups burning villagers alive in their houses, shooting people in front of their families, raping girls and women, and seizing boys as young as 10 years old to serve as conscripts, Sad isn't it?
The villagers often travel for days and nights to avoid indiscriminate killings by the marauding armed groups which have set up check points on the roads.
Thousands have escaped to South Sudan's other neighbors notably Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia etc where an additional million have sought shelter.
Women and children are the most affected with thousands arriving each day at camps in Northern Uganda seeking safety, food, water, shelter, medical services and supplies, hygiene supplies etc.
Lack of personal/feminine hygiene education and empowerment in the camps has led to high levels of feminine infections, low self-esteem, depression, idolism, early marriages in hope that their husbands will solve all their problems, physical and psychological gender based violence, early child births, poor family planning, social problems, mental breakdown etc. Refugee girls and women undergo these issues on a daily basis.
These girls and women need urgent help to deal with these issues.
As horrifying as it is, Pro-Girls Foundation is coming forward to help these girls and women regain confidence, hope and stability for a better future in their second home "Uganda", because we believe that development takes place when women are empowered, given opportunities and made aware that their position in the society is NOT JUST to bear children nor live their lives in the kitchen but rather be participants in building stronger economic life and achieving of internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability.
Back ground information about menstrual hygiene.
Feminine hygiene in developing countries is very different compared to the first world countries.
A 13-year-old girl in United Kingdom is getting ready for school. She has a shower, dresses up and as she prepares to leave the house, she reaches out into her cabinet and pulls out a pack of tampons, places them in her bag and confidently goes off to school.
Well, compare that story to that of a 13-year-old girl in a refugee camp in Uganda. On the same day in a different country in a refugee camp this girl has her periods, but difference is when this refugee girl gets her monthly periods, she has NO access to any menstrual products.
Instead she will use leaves, newspapers or old rags. It’s hardly a solution but it’s all she can do. And if that’s not terrible enough she will skip up to five days off school or daily activities every month because she’s away hiding due to discomfort and fear that her home-made pad might leak or fall out through the day causing her embarrassment, Shame, guilt, humiliation and psychological torture.
As an organisation that cares about women, we are working to help girls and women cope with these issues and live life normally without having interruptions due to menstruation.